Can Homeopathy Treat and Even Cure Autism?
By Guest Blogger Amy L. Lansky, PhD
In January of 1995, an article in Mothering Magazine about homeopathy changed the course of my life. At the time, my husband Steve and I were struggling to understand and come to terms with our son Max’s inability to communicate and socialize with others. Unfortunately, this experience has become increasingly familiar to more and more parents since that time.
Back in 1995, the dramatic rise in autism rates in the USA was just beginning and the world of autism resources and treatments was in its infancy. The disease was first reported in 1943—at the same time as the mass vaccination programs for diseases such as polio and pertussis began. In the 1970s the incidence was reported as 1:2500 children. By 2007, it had become 1:150, in 2009, 1:100, and the most recent 2012 statistics indicate that autism incidence has risen to 1:88 children. That translates to 1:53 (nearly 2%) of boys, since incidence is four times higher in boys than in girls.
Obviously, conventional medicine is coming up short. Luckily, various alternative therapies have stepped in and are getting results. Homeopathy is one medical system that is increasingly used with success, and in my experience, it is one of the few that has achieved curative results in some cases and remarkable improvement in most. Luckily, my son Max fell into the former category. Here’s our story.
In the spring of 1994, when Max was nearly three, his preschool program recommended medical attention. They told us he was becoming increasingly detached, did not make good eye contact or respond well to his name, and was manifesting self-stimulation activities like spinning. Although he was generally happy in demeanor, Max had only ten or twenty words in his vocabulary. Nor did he seem to really understand or respond to us when we spoke to him. If I tried to read to him at bedtime, he’d be all over the bed, running his fingers on the wall and the bedspread. However, he was amazingly adept with blocks and computers, knew his numbers and letters, and loved watching cartoons and dancing to music.
During the summer of 1994 I learned about the Feingold diet and its role in helping behavioral problems. One of the most suspect foods was cow’s milk, and Max was addicted to it! The bottle was his “lovie” and he would sometimes drink eight bottles a day. Once we took milk out of his diet, a veil seemed to lift and Max finally was able to build two-word sentences. He was still autistic in style, but he was definitely more present. Several years later I discovered that sensitivities to milk and other foods are highly characteristic of autistic children. In the fall of 1994, Max qualified for state benefits and began bi-weekly speech and language therapy sessions. His progress was slow and he had begun to manifest characteristic autistic symptoms like echolalia—speech echoing. We were heartsick but determined to try everything we could.
That was the state of things when I learned about homeopathy from Mothering. Developed in Germany in the 1800s, homeopathy was extremely popular in the USA from about 1850–1920, largely because of its success in treating acute epidemic diseases. However, its particular strength is in treating chronic disease. Based on a principle called the Law of Similars (homeopathy literally means “similar [homeo] suffering [pathy]”), it uses extremely dilute doses of natural substances to trigger the body’s innate healing power. Each homeopathic remedy has been tested to discover the unique pattern of emotional and physical symptoms it can cause in healthy people. This remedy can then used to treat people suffering from a similar symptom pattern.
Somehow, I instinctively knew that homeopathy could be our answer. The next day I got a referral to John Melnychuk, a homeopath in Palo Alto, California. Our first two-hour appointment was typical of classical homeopathic treatment, whose goal is to find the correct remedy that matches the unique characteristics of each patient. John observed Max, listened to all of the symptoms I related about his sleep and eating habits, sweat patterns, physical symptoms, behavior, and personality. He also took into account Max’s gestation, birth, and our family’s medical histories. After taking a couple of days to analyze the case, John called to tell us the name of a remedy that he felt was best-matching or “homeopathic” to Max.
Within days of beginning on a daily liquid dose of this remedy, Max began showing subtle changes. His speech became slightly more fluid, he used some new phrases, and he seemed more socially aware. The following week, Max’s therapist remarked that something had definitely shifted. Even though we did not tell her about the homeopathy, she quickly asked, “What did you do?” For example, Max was suddenly able to follow a sequence of two commands rather than just one.
As the months progressed, the changes in Max became more and more noticeable. Each month we would increase the potency of his remedy and observed a characteristic pattern of response. Upon starting a new bottle of the remedy in a higher potency, we would see a 3-day period of increased hyperactivity followed by a discrete improvement in cognition and behavior. Since Steve and I were both scientists, we even conducted a simple experiment. Steve gave Max his remedy for a two-week period and changed the potency at a time unknown to me. I made daily observations, trying to notice that sudden improvement in behavior—and noticed it exactly three days after the dose was changed!
After six months of treatment, John recommended that we also take Max to a cranial osteopath. John now treats many autistic children, and he has found that skilled cranio-sacral treatment can speed up improvement in many of his cases. Max had several treatments and they seemed to calm him and increase his desire for physical contact and affection.
After nine months of homeopathic treatment, Max’s therapist felt that her sessions were no longer necessary. One-and-a-half years after beginning homeopathic treatment, Max was testing above age level. When we signed the papers releasing him from eligibility for special education benefits, our therapist told the county representative that it was not her therapy that had helped Max—it was homeopathy. In fact, she told us that although she had seen autistic kids improve before, but she had never seen a child lose their autism like Max.
At that point, Max was probably 80% cured. By the time he was 9 or 10, no one would suspect his former autism. Admittedly, his response to homeopathic treatment was exceptional and close to ideal. But he is not an isolated case. My book, Impossible Cure, has introduced many families to homeopathy, and each day I hear more stories of healing from around the world. Of course, with an “incurable” disease like autism, even modest improvements can make a huge difference in quality of life. Many homeopaths report at least some significant form of improvement in a majority of their autism cases.
Today Max is 21 and entering his final year at a leading American university studying film and animation. He is popular, extremely social, lives in a fraternity, has no food restrictions whatsoever, and is probably the healthiest member of our family. Max’s cure was my first real experience of homeopathy and it certainly was mind-blowing. It propelled me to begin my own study of homeopathy and, ultimately, to leave my career as a computer scientist and to write Impossible Cure. It is one of my life goals to spread the word to other parents, especially parents dealing with autism, about how homeopathy can help both them and their children.
Amy L. Lansky, PhD was a Silicon Valley computer scientist when her life was transformed by the miraculous homeopathic cure of her son’s autism. In 2003 she published Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy, now one of the best-selling introductory books on homeopathy worldwide (www.impossiblecure.com). Lansky’s latest book, Active Consciousness: Awakening the Power Within (www.activeconsciousness.com), was published in 2011. It focuses on how to cultivate the innate power of human consciousness to heal and transform our world.